The programme, integrated by experts in physical simulation, solidification and casting, physical metallurgy, solid state processing and computational materials engineering, aims to explore the processing-structure-property relationships in bulk metals, with special emphasis on the role of microstructure on plasticity at all length scales. This interdisciplinary pool of researchers is formed by physicists, chemists, and engineers (materials, mechanical and aeronautical) carrying out fundamental research and also working in close collaboration with companies in the transport, aerospace, energy and biomedical sectors. Research facilities include state-of-the-art equipment for processing at a lab scale (casting, wrought processing, Gleeble technology, atomization), microstructural characterisation (electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, nanotomography) and mechanical property testing at a wide range of temperatures and strain rates. The main research lines of the programme are listed below.
Metallic alloys for high temperature structural applications
- Ni/Co-based superalloys for aeroengine components: NiAl and TiAl based alloys for the next generation of turbine blades. FeAl alloys for steam turbines.
Lightweight (Mg, Al, Ti) alloys and their composites
- Development of advanced medical implants from pure Ti. The next generation electrical conductors from Al alloys. Mg alloys and nanocomposites for green transport.
High strength steels
- Development of novel thermo-mechanical processing routes for the fabrication of quenched and partitioned steels with superior mechanical properties. Analysis of processing-microstructure-properties relationship on macro- and microscales with emphasis on their strength, ductility, fatigue and fracture resistance.
Solid state processing
- Development of new alloys by thermo-mechanical approaches and by powder manufacturing via mechanical alloying and gas atomization in non-oxidation conditions. Consolidation by field-assisted sintering and conventional press and sintering.
- Design of metallic powders for additive manufacturing.
Solidification and Casting
- Optimisation of casting processes and solidification-microstructure relationships using traditional (vacuum induction melting, vacuum arc melting, gravity and tilt casting, directional solidification) and advanced techniques (centrifugal and suction casting, vacuum melt atomization).
Physical simulation of metallurgical processes
- Development of novel thermo-mechanical processing routes for the fabrication of metallic materials with superior properties. Design and optimisation of metallurgical processes (rolling, forging, extrusion, welding, casting, etc.)
High throughput screening of materials
- Rapid screening of phases, crystal structures, properties, microstructure and kinetics in bulk materials by the Kinetic Diffusion Multiple Technique. Manufacturing of bulk materials libraries for the fast assessment of mechanical properties.
Model-based materials design
- Integration of modelling tools (atomistic, computational thermodynamics and kinetics, phase field) to simulate the microstructural development of materials during processing.
Simulation of the mechanical behaviour
- Development and calibration of microstructural-based constitutive models to predict the mechanical behaviour of single crystals and polycrystals. Implementation of the constitutive models in finite element codes to simulate the mechanical behaviour of structural components.
- Physical Metallurgy (Dr. T. Pérez-Prado, Programme leader)
- Solid State Processing (Dr. A. García-Junceda)
- Solidification Processing and Engineering (S. Milenkovic)
- Physical Simulation (Dr. I. Sabirov)
- Multiscale Materials Modeling (Dr. J. Segurado)
- Computational Alloy Design (Dr. Y. Cui)
- X-ray characterization of materials (Dr. F. Sket)
- Mechanics of Materials (Prof. J. Llorca)